December is a time ripe with get-togethers such as company holiday parties, family functions or gathering at crowded shopping malls and the flu virus will be primed to take advantage.

The flu can lead to complications not seen in the run of the mill cold virus including hospitalization or in the case of a Tri-Cities woman, death.

The Washington State Department of Health has issued some guidelines on how to fight the flu this holiday season. In a press release, State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes emphasized vaccination.

“Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important thing you can do to protect yourself and avoid spreading the flu to others, especially people who may be more vulnerable. Ask your health care provider about which one is best for you and your family.”

Vaccines are recommended for people as early as six months old and also for those who are 65 and older.

The Department of Health is also suggesting using good health manners such as covering your mouth when coughing, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick to help minimize the spread to others.

More information can be found at the Department's website.